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21 Jump Street – Phil Lord, Chris Miller – The Stag Night movie – everything mysteriously hilarious


Dumb and Dumber



21 Jump Street – Phil Lord, Chris Miller

The latest in a distinct genre – the Stag Night movie of which the Hangovers (1 and 2) are perhaps the most successful in recent times. The Stag Night movie, where absolutely everything is mysteriously hilarious, has the mise en scene of a contrived chaotic setting, where guys, for yes this stuff is rigorously blokey, either hammered or acting as is if they’re hammered, do what guys do when freed from the civilising shackles of the company of women. In Stag city the mere mention of genitalia especially of the dangly kind is sufficient to raise a laugh. Attach a verb and pronoun to the noun and it’s twice as funny: as in “suck my cock.” Imaginative noun substitution helps prolong the fun: as in “suck my dick.”

Yes boys and girls we are in the genteel suburbia of ‘snatches’ and ‘gashes’ , cocks and dicks; where the nearer someone gets to being maimed for life in a bit of harmless fun, the greater the paroxysms of laughter on and off screen. This is a “what about the bit where…” movie. The biggest laugh of the night based upon audience reaction is at the end of a tedious car chase where the villains’ car is blown up and all but one is visibly incinerated. No, that only raised a few chortles: the coup de comic grace is when our crap cop hero shoots off the aforementioned appendage of the remaining crook. Now handcuffed, maimed in the just cause of a cheap laugh, our cocksless crook searches for his severed member to which like all men, he was up to a moment before, inordinately attached. Espying the offended organ amongst the charred remains of car and colleagues, with a horrified air of detachment, he picks it up in his mouth as his hands are tied. Cue uproarious laughter in auditorium.

My son appositely reminds me that I am probably not the target demographic for this artless, witless junk. Thank God for that. But when Critics including Claudia and Danny on BBC’s Film 2012 pick this as their film of the week I smell a rat – or more aptly a pander. It’s cool to laugh at this stuff and by extension uncool to find it lacking in imagination, invention, wit or even grisly style.

It is a perplexing metaphorical dilemma as to whether one should liken Channing Tatum to a tree or a potato. Personally I eschew the arboreal route as at least a potato has eyes and like Hancock’s gravy, can move about a bit. Taters plays Jenko, who is big, hunky and thick: no thespian challenge there then. At high school he happily joins most of the student body in bullying and taking the piss out of nerdy, chubby, Schmidt (Jonah Hill). Five years later and the two find themselves as rookie cops together. Hooking up, the new chums are stupefyingly incompetent – Jenko can’t even remember the Miranda warning, informing his prisoner that he has the right to be a lawyer.

The dysfunctional duo are exiled to 21 Jump Street Station for rookie F**ck-Ups and from there sent undercover to the local high school by Ice Cube’s slightly manic Captain Dickson. (Dicks-on – geddit?). They fit in with surprising ease given that Potato Head looks like a 40-yr old and Schmiddy a Tax Accountant from Idaho. Many ‘adventures’ ensue involving drugs and rock n’ roll but not much sex because Schmiddy is too timiddy with Molly (Brie Larson).

21 Jump Street has its moments I suppose but they have all the mirthful spontaneity of a poke-in-the-ribs with an electric cattle prod. See it if the paint you have been watching is now dry: why you may even as Claudia Winkleman claimed, be unable to breathe through laughing – but somehow I doubt it – her or you.

It is an alarming thought that this one ends on an anticipatory note that ominously portends a follow-up. So maybe re-paint the wall and begin watching again: otherwise you may encourage them.


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